The last quarter of the year, Q4, is the golden quarter for ecommerce brands, with Black Friday, Cyber Monday and the holiday season.  In the age of digital marketing, email continues to be a stand out tool to engage audiences and boost sales. 

However, it’s not as simple as sending out a last-minute promotional email and hoping for the best. Preparation is key. 

Here are the essential steps e-commerce brands should take in September to optimise their email marketing campaigns for Black Friday.


1. Clean your email list

September is an ideal time to grow and clean your email list. Remove contacts who have not engaged in the last year as these addresses may now be invalid (old work addresses for example) or might even have been taken over as a spam trap. Use a validation checker such as Mailercheck.  

Run a re-engagement campaign and unsubscribe those who remain inactive. .A lean, engaged list has a better chance of converting than a larger, uninterested one.

2. Grow your list

Encourage sign-ups through social media campaigns, website pop-ups, or exclusive offers and keep their interest high but sending out a welcome flow and value packed content.  

Promote exclusivity by inviting new sign ups to become VIPs by giving access to your Black Friday offers ahead of everyone else.  This is also a good way to re-engage current contacts.

3. Plan a content calendar

Consistency and timing are so important around Black  Friday, particularly when there is so much activity from other brands.

Sketch out a content calendar detailing the frequency of emails, type of content (teasers, announcements, countdowns), and specific call-to-actions. 

This not only keeps your marketing organised and prevents panic from last minute emails that need to be written, but also ensures that subscribers are neither overwhelmed nor under-informed.


4. Review and test key automated flows

It’s a fact of ecommerce life that many customers will add items to their carts without completing the purchase. This is where your abandoned cart flow gets to work. Send out reminders, offer limited-time discounts, or showcase product reviews to nudge them towards finalizing the purchase. 

Other key flows include welcome flows and post purchase flows. Start testing these now Whether it’s subject lines, images, or call-to-actions, A/B testing can provide insights into what resonates most with your audience, allowing for adjustments before Black Friday rolls around.


5. Analyze past campaigns

Dive into your data and assess the performance of last year’s Black Friday emails, if you published any. What worked? What flopped? Use these insights to guide your strategy this year.


6. Set up ad platform integrations – Meta, Google, TikTok

Costs will be higher at this time of year so make room for this in your ads budget including cost of an Ads Manager if employing one.

If you’re new to ads, then start setting this up now as it can take time and ensure the integration with your email list is working.


7.  Collect social proof

Consumers are attracted to genuine reviews, testimonials, and content from other users like them. Start compiling user-generated content ready for use in your emails.  


8. Create a contingency plan

Even with thorough preparation, things can go awry. Maybe your server crashes or a discount code doesn’t work.

Prepare for potential pitfalls in advance to handle them swiftly, maintaining customer trust.

In conclusion, September is a critical month for e-commerce brands to lay a foundation for their Black Friday email marketing campaigns.  The right strategy combined with data-driven campaigns and creativity can result in increased engagement and sales. 

Don’t leave it too late, start planning now.

Need some help and guidance with your email marketing?  Whether it’s starting from scratch or your need an overhaul, I’d love to help you. Contact me to get started.



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